The Packhorse pub & restaurant, which sits alongside the A4074 Woodcote Road just a mile beyond Reading’s borough boundary, provides an excellent base for a 3 mile walk in the South Oxfordshire countryside. Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer hiked this iFootpath walk on a glorious late summer Sunday in September. The walk is prominently featured on the pub’s website so I don’t need to reinvent the wheel here…
For a true Fueled by Beer trip The Packhorse can be reached by bus from Reading and Oxford via Wallingford (Thames Travel X39/X40 services). The current fare from Reading is £2 single, £3 return. The bus stop is close to the pub and beside the footpath that forms the start of the walking route. If you choose to drive there is plenty of parking at the pub.
Some observations from our experience: if, like us, you’re unfamiliar with Woodcote Road, be aware that as you leave Reading the first pub you see is the Pack Saddle – this is not the pub you want. Continue past this red herring and in about half a mile you reach The Packhorse sitting back off the road with large car park in front.
The Packhorse belongs to the Home Counties pub group, same group as The Rowbarge at Woolhampton. They generally have excellent beer and a commitment to LocAle. The Packhorse is no exception; it carries accreditation from South Oxfordshire CAMRA and during our visit three LocAles were on in good form.
The walk combines a nice mix of footpaths and country lanes incorporating open fields and wooded areas. Crossing crop fields full of shoulder-high corn in early September was pretty idyllic for Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer however we would imagine the same fields in winter or spring, during plowing or sowing, might yield a very different (muddy) experience underfoot so dress accordingly.